As Governor Jay Nixon and state lawmakers prepare Missouri’s new energy plan, a first-of-its-kind report recently released shows that the state’s vibrant and growing clean energy industry employs nearly 40,000 workers at more than 4,400 establishments.
“Clean Jobs Missouri,” and the associated www.cleanjobsmissouri.org website, were commissioned by non-partisan groups Missouri Energy Initiative and Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2.
Among the report’s findings:
* Energy efficiency-related companies are the biggest employer of clean energy workers in the state. More than 32,500 Missourians work in energy efficiency related businesses, ranging from lighting companies to heating and air conditioning firms to utilities with expanded energy efficiency and renewable programs.
* All told, renewables make up 15% of Missouri’s clean energy workforce. Solar is at the top, with 3,700 Missourians supporting the solar industry.
* Small businesses make up the majority–nearly 54%–of Missouri companies operating in the clean energy space.
The report also notes that Missouri’s clean energy industry is poised to grow at a 7% clip in 2015, and could grow even faster with the right public policies.
“Good policies can help create jobs,” said Josh Campbell, executive director, Jefferson City-based Missouri Energy Initiative. “Governor Nixon and other lawmakers have a golden opportunity with the state’s forthcoming energy plan and the federal Clean Power Plan to build off the existing 40,000-Missourian-strong workforce in clean energy today, and demonstrate an innovative response to policy that will result in a balanced energy portfolio for Missouri.”
In addition to the governor, entities weighing in on the state’s forthcoming energy plan include the General Assembly, utilities, the private sector, the Public Services Commission, environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the state’s Division of Energy. The plan is scheduled to be finalized in late May.
The state’s successful renewable energy standard, successful utility energy efficiency programs, and dropping prices for renewable energy are driving clean energy job growth in Missouri, according to the report.
“Clean energy puts everyone from veterans to former coal miners to work,” said Mike Hornitschek, director of strategic development at St. Louis-based StraightUp solar and a 23-year Air Force veteran. “If Missouri’s lawmakers enact strong clean energy policies now, they’ll be seizing an opportunity to create more good jobs generating more clean, homegrown electricity.”
“Our team members are part of a clean energy revolution,” said Zach Tucker, VP of operations at One3 LED, a St. Louis-based energy efficiency company founded on Christian principals. “When their work day is done, they’ve saved people and businesses all across our state money on their electric bills and helped to reduce carbon emissions. Making Missouri’s schools, hospitals and offices more energy efficient isn’t just good for our environment — it allows us all to reinvest our energy savings right back into Missouri’s economy and help create good, high-paying jobs for our neighbors.”
E2 Midwest Advocate Gail Parson said that because of the strong business foundation already in place, the addition of a state energy plan that includes clean energy and the federal Clean Power Plan could help Missouri become a clean energy leader in the Midwest. Under the proposed federal Clean Power Plan, Missouri is expected to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by about 21 percent by replacing coal power with clean energy sources like renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“From St. Louis to Kansas City and every place in between, this report shows clean energy works for Missouri,” Parson said. “Putting energy efficiency and renewables like wind and solar in our state’s new energy plan will create even more jobs and drive even more economic growth while keeping energy costs for consumers affordable, no matter future regulation.”
Included in “Clean Jobs Missouri” are case studies of three companies: StraightUp Solar; One3 LED; and Brightergy, a fast-growing solar energy business based in Kansas City.
“Brightergy was able to leverage progressive energy policies and create a growing company that has a positive impact in our communities,” said Paul Snider, a Brightergy executive. “There is a real market for the work that we do. Depending on how Missouri moves forward, there is also great opportunity to continue to create new energy jobs and value for clients.”
The report also includes a closer look at labor unions’ role in meeting Missouri’s growing demand for clean energy and clean transportation options.
Missouri Energy Initiative
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)
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